WITH storm season already underway, firefighters are reminding locals and tourists about floodwater and drain safety.
Today, along with City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) swift water rescue technicians demonstrated some of the advanced manoeuvres required to rescue people from floodwaters.
Gold Coast North Area Commander Scott Beasley said two teenage boys were rescued from a storm water drain at Pacific Pines just last month, in a situation that could have easily become life-threatening.
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“We need to stress the dangers involved in playing near stormwater drains and near creek beds, particularly during wet season when conditions can change rapidly,” Mr Beasley said.
“Entering stormwater drains at any time, even when it is not raining, is both risky and illegal.
“With no warning at all, water levels can rise even in sunny and dry conditions, and a drain can become a very dangerous place.”
Mr Beasley said recent severe thunderstorm activity in the south-east made the warning even more timely.
“It is essential that residents understand flooding risk particularly in coastal areas, where flooding can happen rapidly with little warning,” he said.
“Entering floodwater either by foot or in a car is highly dangerous as floodwater runs deceptively fast. As little as 15cm can knock a person over and 60cm can wash away a car.”
Councillor Tate said extreme weather was part of life on the Gold Coast and the waterways that made it an attractive place to live could become risks during severe weather.
“The city has a network of five major rivers, 41 creeks, numerous canals, 2427 kilometres of underground pipes and culverts and 304 kilometres of open drains,” Cr Tate said.
“Urban stormwater drainage systems represent a significant safety risk during storms and times of flood.
“We want people in our city to be safe – just stay out of drains, stormwater and flash flooding.”
Mr Beasley said parents should ensure their children are taught the basics of flood water safety.
“It is simple: do not go near floodwater and especially do not walk or wade through floodwater,” he said.
“If you become trapped in water, try to stay calm and if you can’t phone Triple Zero yourself, try to signal for others to call for your rescue.
“If you see someone in difficulty, you should report the situation to emergency services immediately and never enter the water yourself trying to assist someone.”
Mr Beasley said swift water rescue was a highly-specialised field for firefighters which required extensive additional training.
“Swift water rescue technicians are there for flood emergencies, but the less we rely on being rescued and the more we take action to prevent emergency situations, the better the outcomes will be for everybody.”